By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

County Board Chairman David Bliss

COOPERSTOWN – County board Chairman David Bliss has  announced shortly after 2 p.m. that Otsego County businesses and industry have been included in Phase One of the state’s reopening from the coronavirus lockdown, effective this Friday, May 15.

“This is the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Bliss.  “But we’re still in the middle of the tunnel.  We have a long way to go.”

Bliss spoke after just completing a regional telephone briefing with Oneida County Executive Tony Picente, on behalf of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Commission (REDC), which includes Otsego County.

There were seven “metrics” for the state’s 10 REDC’s to qualify to participate in Phase One of the end of Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE order, and the Mohawk Valley region “has met all seven,” said Bliss, who had already participated in three regional briefings by early afternoon today.

He expected a 3:30 p.m. meeting with a representative of Cuomo’s office would answer most of his questions.

Last week, the county had achieved five of the seven metrics, Bliss said, lacking only in, one, the number of tracers employed to seek out people who might be exposed to the coronavirus and, two, testing capacity.

“We solved that over the weekend,” he said.  “We’ve above, so that helped the six counties in the region” hit the governor’s target to be eligible for reopening.

This is not a complete reopening, but puts Otsego in the first of the phases that will lead to reopening under what the governor calls the “new normal.”

“Obviously,” Bliss said, “everybody has to continue social distancing, masks, to stay at home if they’re sick, and a requirement for taking temperatures, depending on the business.”

Bliss praised the county’s COVID-19 task force – it includes County Treasurer Allen Ruffles, chairman; Public Health Director Heidi Bond, County Attorney Ellen Coccoma and Meg Kennedy, C-Hartwick/Milford/New Lisbon, the county board’s vice chairman.  Bliss also serves on that body.


  1. Bob Eklund

    We Won ? How Trumpian. Another way to look at it could be we were chosen as the initial experiment for reopening. I hope it works out, but I don’t think it’s a question of “Winning” ?

  2. Lori Irene Moss

    I think it would have been better to watch other communities start first so we can learn from mistakes. Not as happy here as you guys.

  3. William Carentz

    How Trumpian!! Really your comment is in poor taste. Wouldn’t it be more helpful just to express your opinions without denigrating our county government ? Either your part of the solution or your contributing to the problem.

  4. Bradford Brooks

    Unless you own or work for a small business in otsego county, best leave this to those that do. If you’re scared, then you stay home. It’s as simple and easy as that. Those of us that have to bust our butts and make a living to pay our bills need to get to work.

  5. Chip Northrup

    New York’s systemic approach is unique in America. Positively first world. Bravo

  6. Jessica

    So grateful for our community to be able to begin the phases of reopening! As a local business owner, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to safely begin again and to support our local economy while also serving public health as well.

  7. Kristina

    If opinions matter, I still think it is a bit early, we are just seeing people being put into quarantine in this area. Economically it is a great start, health wise, that is still up for debate. If everyone uses their protective gear correctly, it should be fine, my faith in everyone using it correctly is a concern.

  8. Barbara Felter

    Really, Bob Eklind? Was that necessary? It’s been a trying time for everyone and we’re just glad maybe we can get back to some normal way of life. Oh, right…blaming Trump for everything is normal.

  9. J

    It looks like the covid-19 data for our county hasn’t been updated since the 4th.
    Can we get an update?

  10. Evangeline

    I agree with Lori and Bob. This is basically so that the colleges and baseball nonsence can reopen. There are college kids here who, have already been disregarding social distancing and the use of masks, as they always disregard the fact that they are guests here. As a “college” town, we will be inundated with them, but will not have the capacity to handle them. Not as far as making them comply, or with the ability to test all the extra cases of the second wave all these people will cause. And that includes the baseball people. I understand that small businesses need help, I have one. But it would be better to be subsidised rather than be giuni pigs. Again, it’s not just our town reopening, it’s our small town reopening to thousands of careless strangers.

  11. Jessie

    That’s interesting….”we won”. Oh yes so Trumpian. His performance last night was spectacular. I see construction in Cooperstown. Restaurants doing take-out. Tourists roaming the streets. No masks no social distancing. It appears we were in phase one already!! So when is the DMV going to open?? A real essential service. However, the county wants to lay off 100 employees. More agony. No we have won nothing! Oh and where do we go for our tests?

  12. Kevin

    Is there a list of small businesses who have the green light to reopen? And if so, how do we find out what to do next as far as taking temperatures and the guidelines we’d need to follow?

  13. Frank

    Most of those weekly visitors can’t even get our recycling right so would we expect them to follow through on the virus precaution guidelines. I doubt it. Locals are intelligent and concerned enough to follow through with open up phases . Looks as if the summer and fall will be an early winter economically so it means more local support for home town business needs full support. Never give up and open up.

  14. robin

    where are the rules for the phase one reopening.

    Students will follow all rules just to get back to school. My kids are better with going out only with masks, gloves and purel every time.

    they Zoom instead of get together.

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